a poetry reading on the upper westside

I was invited by the director of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation to photograph a reading by Robin Morgan of her upcoming collection, “The Grey Matter Suite”, at a party hosted by Loreen Arbus in her amazingly colorful Upper Westside apartment overlooking Central Park. Morgan, a poet who lives with Parkinson’s Disease, set the room ablaze with her wit and humor, as she read aloud to a small gathering of New York intellectuals, most notably Gloria Steinem. Steinem is quite possibly the most classy and considerate person I’ve ever met in my life.

I shot this using my Nikon D800 and 80-200mm f/2.8 for the closer shots and my Nikon D7000 with a 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 for the wider stuff. Since I couldn’t use a flash, I was forced to push my camera’s ISO as high as they would allow without completely ruining the photos. That meant for the D800 ISO 6400 and for the D7000 ISO 3200. Even then, I was dragging the shutters and had to practice good camera technique to the best of my ability. The biggest challenge was color balancing the photos in Lightroom, because there was blue light coming through the windows, tungsten lights all over the apartment, and a whole rainbow of colors bouncing off the walls, the artwork and the furniture.

I’m particularly proud of the HDRI I did of Central Park out of Arbus’ window. It’s a little over the top, but I like it.

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